Neutron emission from electromagnetic dissociation of Pb nuclei at √sNN = 2.76 TeV measured with the ALICE ZDC
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Published online: 10 April 2014
The ALICE Zero Degree Calorimeter system (ZDC) is composed of two identical sets of calorimeters, placed at opposite sides with respect to the interaction point, 114 meters away from it, complemented by two small forward electromagnetic calorimeters (ZEM). Each set of detectors consists of a neutron (ZN) and a proton (ZP) ZDC. They are placed at zero degrees with respect to the LHC axis and allow to detect particles emitted close to beam direction, in particular neutrons and protons emerging from hadronic heavy-ion collisions (spectator nucleons) and those emitted from electromagnetic processes. For neutrons emitted by these two processes, the ZN calorimeters have nearly 100% acceptance.
During the √sNN = 2.76 TeV Pb-Pb data-taking, the ALICE Collaboration studied forward neutron emission with a dedicated trigger, requiring a minimum energy deposition in at least one of the two ZN. By exploiting also the information of the two ZEM calorimeters it has been possible to separate the contributions of electromagnetic and hadronic processes and to study single neutron vs. multiple neutron emission.
The measured cross sections of single and mutual electromagnetic dissociation of Pb nuclei at √sNN = 2.76 TeV, with neutron emission, are σsingle EMD = 187:4 ± 0.2 (stat.)−11.2+13.2 (syst.) b and σmutual EMD = 5.7 ± 0.1 (stat.) ±0.4 (syst.) b, respectively . This is the first measurement of electromagnetic dissociation of 208Pb nuclei at the LHC energies, allowing a test of electromagnetic dissociation theory in a new energy regime. The experimental results are compared to the predictions from a relativistic electromagnetic dissociation model.
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